Is Nigeria ready for artificial Intelligence technology?


Artificial Intelligence which is sometimes known as machine intelligence is a kind of intelligence demonstrated by machines, which is in contrast to the natural intelligence showcased by humans and animals.

It is said to be an aspect of computer science that emphasizes the development of intelligent machines that react and work like humans do. Some of these abilities include speech recognition, learning, problem solving, planning etc.

This is however a concept that is unfamiliar to many Nigerians today, although many countries do have knowledge of it especially the developed nations. A good number of Nigerians do not know how it works, what it is and how it will affect their daily activities.

An Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Mr Sampson Awele said whenever AI is mentioned, so many Nigerians tend to have an imagination of science fiction stories about robots taking the jobs and controlling the world.

He said it is high time Nigerians understood the system and know the potential benefits and how it will be helpful to the citizens in living better lives.

Awele said “as a wide-ranging tool that enables people to rethink how to integrate information, analyse data, and use the resulting insights to improve decision making, the society will become better with increased automation and AI.”

The ICT expert who is optimistic about AI maintained the fact that AI will never take over jobs to be performed by people, explaining that many people get worried that AI will take over their jobs.

According to a lecturer in the Department of Cyber Security Science, Federal University of Technology, Minna , Mr. Oluwafemi Osho,  AI’s development  will increase the rate of unemployment in the country. He said people will need to opt for careers that are ICT-compliant and some kind of jobs might not be needed.

Mr.Osho therefore calls for increased sensitization to enlighten youths to choose careers they can operate comfortably through the use of ICT.

Mr.Jimson Olufuye, the former boss of African Information Communication technology Alliance (AfICTA) on the contrary expresses sadness on Nigerian’s readiness to embrace AI, emphasizing that huge investment will be needed for the purpose.

“AI requires huge investment and the need has to be there. “Right now, the real need is not there yet, we are still struggling with the basic needs, as greater percentage of the population are still struggling to make ends meet.

To embrace such technology, it requires critical mass and it is not in Nigeria, it is in Japan, China and U.S. Our development is still nascent, we need to tackle basic things first; we need to make sure there is seamless connectivity all around the country.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Communications has given its assurance to support ICT stakeholders and strengthen a national AI ecosystem to help in achieving sustainable development.

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